Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #451
CE Offered: BACB
Snack Talk: Implementation of an Embedded Visual Communication Support during Mealtimes
Monday, May 25, 2020
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 2, Room 202B
Area: AUT/DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: William Therrien (University of Virginia)
Discussant: Shelly Huntington (University of Washington)
CE Instructor: Shelly Huntington, Ph.D.

Strong engagement in meaningful social skills is shown in research to impact inclusion in community settings for individuals diagnosed autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Yet, engagement in meaningful social skills is often challenging, as this is a defining characteristic of ASD. Extant literature indicates that social skills are most successfully acquired when taught through naturalistic and embedded instruction in established routines. A commonly occurring routine in most classroom, home, and community settings is mealtime. The symposium will present findings from three studies examining the effects of implementation of Snack Talk in a self-contained preschool classroom serving children specifically diagnosed with ASD, an inclusion preschool classroom, as well as an adult academy serving individuals with ASD and other related developmental disabilities. Results indicated increases in engagement in social communication across all populations of participants, demonstrating strong functional relationship and overall acceptability of intervention as a whole.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): autism, mealtimes, social skills, visual support
Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: 1. Participants will gain concrete strategies for targeting social communication during meal times 2. Participants will learn about two recent studies targeting social communication 3. Participants will gain a thorough understanding of implications of this intervention on two different populations of individuals with ASD and other developmental disabilities

Snack Talks: Visual Supports to Increase Communication Engagement for Preschoolers With Autism

KATHERINE BATEMAN (University of Washington), Sarah Emily Wilson (University of Virginia), Ariane Gauvreau (University of Washington), Katherine M. Matthews (The Faison Center), William Therrien (University of Virginia), Rose Nevill (University of Virginia), Micah Mazurek (University of Virginia)

Early childhood classrooms are dramatically changing as education systems across the country push for more settings that are inclusive. For students to meaningfully engage in inclusive settings, strong repertoires of social skills are needed. Yet, for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), engagement in meaningful social skills is often challenging. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of “Snack Talk”, a visual communication support, aimed at increasing the communication engagement of five preschool children with autism. A reversal design across participants was used to analyze the relation between implementation of “Snack Talk” and social engagement. Generalization probe results demonstrated conversation engagement increased across all participants. A functional relationship was established between the teaching phase (baseline and intervention data collection phases) and generalization, demonstrating a strong generalized effect of intervention.


Snack Talks: Effects of a Visual Communication Support on Increasing Conversation Engagement for Adults With Autism

SARAH EMILY WILSON (University of Virginia), Katherine Bateman (University of Washington), Einar T. Ingvarsson (Virginia Institute of Autism), William Therrien (University of Virginia), Rose Nevill (University of Virginia), Micah Mazurek (University of Virginia)

As rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses continue to rise, adult service providers are challenged to support a growing number of adults with autism. Indeed, outcomes for adults with ASD are typically poor, with individuals reporting lower levels of social support, relationships, gainful employment, and quality of life. Although there have been strides made in identifying evidence-based social interventions for individuals with autism, the preponderance of participants within studies are children. As such, targeted social skills and social communication interventions that are aligned with the needs of adults are warranted. The purpose of this presentation is to report findings from the implementation of “Snack Talk”, a naturalistic visual communication support, with five adults with ASD and other developmental disabilities. “Snack Talk” is implemented during mealtime and is designed to expand community membership and the social networks of adults with autism through increasing conversation engagement with peers. A reversal design across participants was employed to analyze the effectiveness of the intervention. Results demonstrate that conversation engagement increased across all participants in intervention and generalization phases compared to baseline.




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